Let’s talk migraines: Specifically how freaking incapacitating they can be.
As if that familiar migraine pain weren’t enough—you know, that squeezing sensation and brain fogginess—those capital-H Headaches also come with increased sensitivity to light, noise, and smells, and sometimes even nausea and vomiting. And don’t even get me started on those auras.
And while about 12 percent of Americans get these headaches, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), they disproportionately affect women, who are three times more likely than men to get migraines.
While you can’t necessarily make sure you never, ever get a migraine (they likely have a genetic cause, per the NLM), you can keep a few things in your migraine arsenal for the next time the pain strikes. To help calm your throbbing head, try these migraine helpers, recommended by Lauren Natbony, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and headache specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital; and Kerry Knievel, D.O., a neurologist in Phoenix.
1. Pop some magnesium supplements.
Migraine sufferers tend to have lower levels of magnesium, a vitamin that can inhibit ache-causing brain signals.
To slash frequency and severity of head pain, pop a 400- to 500-milligram supplement daily (clear it with your doctor first). Patience is a virtue with this OTC aid—it could take up to six weeks to notice a change.
2. Give acupressure a try.
Pressing specific trigger points, like where the base of your head meets your neck, or your temples, for a few minutes could provide relief in the moment.
Ever heard of “daith” piercings? (They’re in the ear fold’s innermost cartilage, FYI.) There’s no proof, but (non-expert) proponents say they help, per the same theory.
3. Ask your doctor about prescription meds.
Fighting migraines five or more days a month? A preventive Rx could cut occurrence and intensity in half.
There’s no one drug that works for everyone, so you may have to experiment. Ask your doctor about oral options (like Topamax), or consider an injection, like the newly FDA-approved Aimovig.
4. Look into Botox (yes, really).
The wrinkle miracle is approved by the FDA to prevent chronic migraines (15 or more headache days, including eight migraine ones, a month).
Every 12 weeks, a trained physician injects 31 nerve-dense sites, some where facial lines appear (talk about an added bonus). Most insurances cover it, but you may have to try a few oral meds first